Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Ellison (Ethan Hawke) is a true-crime writer who's just moved his family to a house where a family was found hung in the backyard, and the youngest daughter went missing. As Ellison investigates, he discovers a group of old super 8 videos in the attic that show the murder, along with a series of other murders committed all over the country, and in different years and decades. The only connections is that a child went missing, and the image of a strange man with a scary mask is in each of them.
While Ellison probes deeper, mysterious events begin to occur in his house, which leads him to believe the house might be haunted. When his little daughter starts drawing pictures of the missing children, he realizes he's stumbled upon something more than just a simple murder - a supernatural evil that harnesses the souls of children to keep him alive.
Ethan Hawke gives a great performance in this film, as it is spent a lot of time with him wandering the halls of his house hearing spooky noises, at least he keeps it interesting. The ghosts of the children could've been done better, as their makeup was extremely poorly done.
The home movies were sick and twisted, which is what made the film really great - it didn't hold back. Nice, homely titles like "Family BBQ" and "Pool Party" give new, sadistic meanings when Ellison viewed them, and it was fun trying to piece together the puzzle, even if it was somewhat hackneyed and predictable. Unfortunately, most of the truly scary scenes were in the preview so you saw them coming, unless you never saw the trailer, then you'd probably be spooked. A great, dark, atmospheric supernatural film.
"Bully" is a documentary that focuses on the issue of school bullying, centering around several stories of children who were bullied and the aftermath of the actions, including parents whose children killed themselves because they were bullied.
While I thought it was well done and extremely emotional, I wish that there was more on what to do with bullies and how to handle them, instead of just hearing the stories of kids who were bullied. There wasn't as much information regarding what to do with bullies as I think there should've been, it seems that the film was made moreso for the emotional impact it had on audiences and to raise awareness of it, but it's something that's been going on for decades with no real solutions out there as of yet.
Five years after Katie (Katie Featherston) abducts young Hunter, we're taken to Nevada to a seemingly uninteresting family. Young Alex (Kathryn Newton) who, of course, always has a camera. Her younger brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp), and their parents Holly (Alexondra Lee) and Doug (Stephen Dunham).
All seems normal, until the new neighbors across the street move in, and young Robbie (Brady Allen) keeps coming over unexpectedly. After an apparent accident lands Robbie's mother in the hospital, Holly agreed to keep Robbie at their house while she recuperates.
As soon as Robbie moves in, strange events begin to happen, and Alex enlists the help of her tech-savvy friend Ben (Matt Shively) to monitor the house through the use of cameras in their laptops. What they discover is something none of them could possibly have imagined.
When the first "Paranormal Activity" came out, everyone reveled in its "revolutionary use" of found-footage filming. I found it completely boring and pointless. Lots of down time with nothing going on, and then the last fifteen minutes BAM everything happens.
Then the second film came out. Once again, a whole lot of nothing with everything happening the last fifteen minutes.
The third one tried to explain what happened in the past and, although I feel it was the best of the series, it still followed the stale formula of nothing happening until the last fifteen minutes.
So I wasn't surprised when the fourth film followed the same tired pattern. A couple lame jump scares, a boring story, nothing happens until the last fifteen minutes when everything goes crazy. They try to keep the storyline going while you can just see the thread growing thinner and thinner. Not that it doesn't make sense - it does - but it's just getting old and stale and just needs to end already.
Gus (Clint Eastwood) is an aging baseball scout who's losing his eyesight, yet he still loves the thrill of the game, even if his methods are a little "old school" for some of the up-and-coming scouts. He's spent his whole life studying baseball, and in the process neglected his now adult daughter Mickey (Amy Adams), who is now an aspiring attorney.
Gus heads to North Carolina to do some scouting, and his best friend Pete (John Goodman) urges Mickey to go with him, and she reluctantly accepts.
While scouting local talent, they run into Johnny (Justin Timberlake), whom Gus mentored years ago and is now a talent scout himself. Sparks begin to fly between Johnny and Mickey, while her attempts to get closer to her father falls on deaf ears.
Clint Eastwood comes out of retirement to star in this run-of-the mill dramatic film, and it's his appearance in the film that makes it watchable. He commands the screen, and his chemistry with Amy Adams is amazing. Sure, you can easily predict everything that's going to happen - and you'd be right - but it's the acting chops of these two seasoned veterans that steal the show. Justin Timberlake - not so much. But he works with what he has.
Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) are recently divorced, and he gets custody of his two young daughters Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport) on the weekends. Everything seems to be cordial until he gets a box at a garage sale. Em loves the box, but it seems to be transforming her into something different.
As strange events begin to occur, and unexplained deaths begin to happen, Clyde researches the box and finds that it's not just an ordinary box - it's a Dybbuk box, which, according to Jewish belief, holds the spirit of a demon inside it.
Now Clyde is racing against time to get this demon out of his young daughter before it takes over her completely.
I'm a big fan of religious studies, and the Dybbuk box is a fascinating object. There's a mini documentary in the extras in the movie that talks about a man who owns a Dybbuk box, and the strange happenings that occurred while he had it, and those who had it before him. Unfortunately, this was far more interesting than the actual film, which turned out to be a typical paint-by-numbers supernatural thriller where nothing much is remembered after it ends. It wasn't a bad film, but it wasn't great.